Archive | January, 2011
January 27, 2011

POTD: The Upper Lake at Glendalough, Ireland

Glendalough, a glacial valley located in County Wicklow, Ireland.

January 26, 2011

POTD: Anti-Putin/Medvedev graffiti in Prague

Snapped this photo when I was in Prague in December 2009. The text reads “Putin Medvedev – Criminals!” Obviously the artist wasn’t a fan of the Russian President and Prime Minister.

January 25, 2011

POTD: Cliff houses along the Mtkvari (Kura) river in Tbilisi

The Kura river, which these cliffhouses are perched precariously over, starts in north-eastern Turkey, flows through Turkey to Georgia, and then to Azerbaijan, where it enters the Caspian Sea. The total length of the river is 1,515 kilometres (941 mi). As Tbilisi’s economy continues to grow following its independence from the USSR, flights to Istanbul and other major regional cities are increasingly available. We flew to Azerbaijan from Georgia since flights to Baku were unavailable in Armenia.

January 24, 2011

POTD: Chernobyl kittens

Ryan and Laura play with kittens after our tour of the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. Although they were incredibly cute, we did not take them home as souvenirs.

January 22, 2011

POTD: Stairs near Prague Castle

Photo of the stairs leading up to the area where Prague Castle is situated. This photo was taken during a return trip to Prague in December 2009. It was much colder than my previous trip in July 2005, but less crowded (which I enjoyed). Flights to Munich from Prague are usually cheap and quite easy to arrange, but most tourists in Europe travel via train.

January 21, 2011

POTD: Safaga beach, Egypt

It’s not quite the beaches of Southern California or the Outer Banks, but the Red Sea isn’t bad. Safaga is a sleepy port on the Red Sea, lacking the excitement of its northern cousin, Sharm-El-Sheikh. Still, there are plenty of options for tourists in this small town, especially if you enjoy snorkeling or scuba diving. We visited Safaga on a whim, after booking cheap flights to Luxor from London, arriving there, and deciding we wanted to see something different after several days of touring Ancient Egyptian sites. Safaga is approximately a three hour drive from Luxor and includes your very own police convoy.

January 20, 2011

POTD: OBX

Outer Banks, North Carolina in September 2010 after the Labor Day rush. One of the few places on the East Coast that I will miss.

January 19, 2011

POTD: North Korean dancers at rest

Near the Monument to the Foundation of the Korean Workers’ Party, a group of North Korean dancers waits to be dismissed by their supervisors.

January 18, 2011

POTD: The Pyongyang roller coaster o’ fun (or death)

This is the roller coaster at the Mangyongdae Fun Fair in Pyongyang, North Korea. It was definitely the scariest roller coaster I have ever been on, considering the safety restraints didn’t work and there were thick layers of rust on the tracks. But I survived, and even managed to film the ride while holding on for dear life (and I’m pretty sure camera insurance wouldn’t have covered a device carelessly ejected out of that roller coaster).

January 17, 2011

POTD: Buckingham Palace

This is Buckingham Palace, the official London residence of the British monarch. It did not become the official royal palace of the British monarch until the accession of Queen Victoria in 1837. Queen Elizabeth II now resides here.

Typically, the public isn’t allowed to tour Buckingham Palace, but in 2009 the Palace began to hold tours during the summer/fall (when the Queen is at her summer residence in Scotland) in exchange for a sum of money from the British government that would pay for repairs to the palace. Tickets to the palace are £17.50, a rather pricey sum (especially for a student – my mom made me go ;)), but well worth it if you have an interest in the royal family and have the funds to splurge after booking a stay at one of the luxury hotels in the UK.

The Buckingham Palace tour takes you through nineteen of the Palace’s State Rooms, which are used by the Royal Family to receive and entertain guests on official occasions. On the tour you will see a ton of chintzy knick knacks as well as museum-worthy paintings and sculptures by some of the world’s greatest artists (which makes one wonder why the UK government is providing the Royals with funds, but I digress…). At the end of the tour, you can walk inside the walled-off Palace garden, which quickly makes you forget that you are in the middle of a huge city. And, of course, if you felt that you haven’t given the Royal Family enough of your money, at the conclusion of the tour you can go into the Palace gift shop and buy a variety of souvenirs (Queen Elizabeth II shot glass, anyone?)